Though separated from it
by so many years
that route is etched
onto my memory
I run it in my sleep now
following my recollected path
with trenchant mindset
breathing deeply
with vigorous tread
pressing onwards

The massed start
across the school playing field
right turn out of the gate
onto the sea road
past the police station
the nurse’s home
on to the cemetery
the very edge of town
up that tricky slope
still on metalled road
avoiding the light traffic
before the turn right
off the main road
into Mucky Lane
aptly named
plough on
with uncertain foothold
through the rutted cart tracks
muddy lane
the Whitby road
left towards the moors
a few hundred yards
then leaving the road
right and through the farmyard
annoying the sheepdog
avoiding its belligerence
over the stile
up the narrow path
onto the foothills
the Cleveland scarp
all is yellow and green
steep climb through the gorse
hard going here
wet but springy turf
short-cropped by the sheep
and all is now green
still climbing
through the encroaching undergrowth
brushing bracken
avoiding the sheep droppings
past the wreck of the old iron mine
the landscape now pink and brown
circle the next shale heap
slag and spoil underfoot
the air shafts
wired off now
as far as the rifle range
out of bounds
sharply right and down now
Butt Lane
and more mud
until back on the Whitby road
right again
following the stickleback stream
along the metalled paving
on the flat
picking up my pace
I turn left into the
Hall grounds
now the copse
quickly through
negotiating the kissing gate
and into the Applegarth
the finishing straight
arrows ahead
short sharp uphill sprint
and then
heart racing
to keep up with
legs pounding the ground
grasping the air
gasping for breath until
at last
the tape

only just
into second place

the story of my life


The views in the Photo Gallery below and in the top photograph are all from the actual area of the RUN which was on the scarp slope of the Cleveland Hills which form the Northern border of the North Yorkshire Moors National Park.  Some of them are more recent photographs of the actual places through which the cross-country course originally passed.  The photographs were culled from various internet sources covering this area.



11 thoughts on “The RUN

  1. Excellent Roland and this has brought back many memories of the old school run. I like the way you have constructed the poem as it speeds up as you read it. I was out of breath by the end.

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